“I hate Mom. Go Jaguars.”

That was the jab/cheer that Turtle left me with tonight.  I am happy that he wants the Jags to win, but I would have rather had a “goodnight” or a “I love you, Mommy” as the precursor.

I know the reasons for both comments.  For the latter, we’d been talking a little 3-and-a-half year old level football and I mentioned that we might go to visit his Aunt, Uncle and cousin’s house tomorrow to watch the game.  It would be a consolation prize because it appears we are not taking the boys to Disney tomorrow as planned.  Ironically, the cancelled trip was not the reason I got his painful first comment.

The source of Turtle’s ire is because I lost my temper about an hour before bedtime.  I mean I lost it more than I can remember doing in a long time. More than the “peeing in the corner” episode.

I came up stairs after wrapping up a phone call to my mother, where I was looking for sympathy about our Disney vacation getting cancelled.  Between that and Vader’s teacher informing us that he is moving to a new classroom on Monday, I was in a bad mood.   (While each of those things comes with its own dramatic I-cannot-believe-this-is-my our-life story, I will not lump them into this post.)

I hang up and hear what sounds like WWIII above my head.  As I turn the corner to start up the stairs to the 2nd floor, I see what appears, at first glance, to be a stack of white pillows.

Upon closer inspection, I realize it is paper.  Toilet paper   Lots of toilet paper.  In fact, 4 of the double rolls I purchased not 2 hours ago to replace the rolls that Splash put in the downstairs toilet, have been completely unravelled into a soft, plush, white mountain of quilted hell.

Several offshoots of paper lead me to my bedroom, where the 3 loads of freshly washed laundry, that had earlier in the day been sorted and stacked and were waiting to be put away for the week ahead, are now strewn about the room.   The clothes are everywhere.  On the floor.  On top of the armoire.  In the master bath.  There was actually a pair of shorts hanging from the ceiling fan. Everywhere.

I am struck dumb.  I cannot speak.  And just as I think I can contain the rage rising up in my gut, a naked Splash runs in carrying the end of yet another roll.  Upon seeing me, he turns and runs the other way.  I follow him to his room where I find

the entire contents

of the twins’ dresser

on the floor.

All the blocks

on the floor.

All the sheets

stripped from the beds.

And the metal blinds

open half way on one side and

the cord wrapped knotted

through out the now-bent blinds themselves.

And I lose it.

I later tell the boys that Mommy should not yell like that.  I apologize for the way that I behaved and smile through tears when they all chip in unsolicited to try to help clean up.

But Turtle, in his very smart and emotionally intelligent way, didn’t forget about Mommy’s behavoir at bedtime.

Now I sit here, having a little pity party for myself.

I know that every parent has good days and bad.

And I know I often forget that life is, on the whole, pretty good.

I have a job I love, a healthy family, a roof over our head and a HH who I can share all of these things with.  But on days like today, when another vacation is cancelled (I think this makes the 5th in four years that have been cancelled and there are several more that were seriously affected by bad news while traveling), when Vader’s schooling is an uncertainty that I have little control over, and when I feel like the worst mother in the world, I need to try to remember that tomorrow is a new day.   Tomorrow, we can look forward to new plans.  Tomorrow, we can try again.  And win.  Kinda like the Jaguars.

So, like Turtle said, “Go Jaguars.”  I am pulling for you because past performance should not be the only indicator of future success.  If that was it, I’d hate me too.


  1. Hey Jennifer,
    I wish you could have heard the lady who spoke at my Mothers of Preschoolers group. Her name is Carolyn Boykin and she has a website and a Facebook page. Her topic was “When you feel like screaming – Real help for real moms who lose their cool.”
    To give you the next best thing, I wrote up my notes and excerpts from her hand out.
    September 2011
    She said screaming is a habit, and that we get caught in a vicious cycle (scream out of frustration, feel guilty for screaming, don’t know what to do with the guilt, feels worse, the worse we feel the more we scream out of frustration). She talked about screaming triggers (tired/hungry, too many demands on time, stress is too great, feel helpless & out of control, think children don’t measure up, hormonal imbalance, fear, friction/frustration with husband), and there are probably more for each individual. She confessed that she was a screaming mom and showed us a picture of her two girls from when they were small, maybe 3/4 years & 18-24 months, when she was trying to get a good shot on film of them sitting in a chair for the Christmas card. Feeling the pressure of only 24 exposures, and that the resulting photograph would be a reflection of her parenting skills, and the uncontrollable energy of the younger child who would. not. sit. still., she yelled and took this picture. The picture showed the smaller child with a big grin, but the older child crying because of the yelling.
    Children respond to screaming with:
    sadness & hurt feelings
    angry back talk
    fear & withdrawal
    sullen seething silence
    humiliation & shame
    indifference or laughter
    “coalition against mom”
    She talked about wanting to change, but not ever being able to follow the deep breath or step away advice. What really helped was understanding the “ABC’s of anger”.
    Activating experience or Adversity
    Beliefs (what are we telling ourselves?)
    emotional or behavioral Consequences
    So anger is not a wrong emotion, it is there to tell us we need to change something.

    By choosing to think about Adversities, we stop acting impulsively or foolishly. Ask yourself, “what so I seem to Believe just before I experience my disturbed Consequences?” Surrender your “must’s” and “shouldn’ts”.

    The point of the ABC’s was that we can’t change our triggers or our behavioral consequences, but we have to work on our beliefs. So instead of thinking things like “can’t stand this” or having black&white thinking (something must/should/ought to be a certain way), that we need to think things like
    • This is unpleasant, but it is not horrible
    • I can stand it, but I won’t like it
    • This is quite bad, but it is not terrible
    • Obedience is ideal, and we will work to train to obey.
    • Life is an adventure
    • What an opportunity!

    So serenity is character development. She talked about the calmest person she ever knew, a man who was the principal of an elementary school and whenever he had to call a parent about a child’s unacceptable behavior, he would say, “We have an opportunity.”
    She said, don’t be so patient that we are permissive, but react firmly, clearly, and fairly so that our child will benefit from our healthy authority.

    Here are some bullet points explaining how to achieve the habit of quiet control:
    • Speak to your child with respect. Talk with your child as an individual rather than as his commander.
    • Draw your child close to you and whisper in his ear.
    • Solve problems together, correct mistakes with kindness, and forgive each other.
    • Explain your feelings to your children. BUT DON”T tell your kids that they “made you feel that way”
    • Plan ahead/Be Flexible
    • Remember to laugh… at yourself, with your children, and at the impossible situations of life
    • Look for balance… let certain things go, learn to say “no”
    • Find a friend or an accountability partner and talk about your desire and plan to change
    • Forgive yourself, and ask for forgiveness from your children and husband
    “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. I have been there and done that (although not with that much mayhem, honestly, boys!). I’ve screamed until I’ve cried and hated myself for it. And still, tomorrow dawns and you keep getting a fresh chance not only to make your kids happy and feel loved and safe, but yourself, too.

    I’m bummed to hear about your recent disappointments. Keep hanging on, momma. You know what else tomorrow brings? New opportunities to do relaxing grown up things. So what if I mean “wine” and “lattes” and “adult TV”? That counts.

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